As many teachers come to the end of the first quarter of the school year across the United States, many of us are still feeling the strain of a string of seemingly unending changes. As children and adults have been learning how to learn at home, returning to learning at school, and toggling back between them both, now more than ever should we be looking for things to celebrate.
In the spirit of celebrating what we collectively are doing well, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite projects that my co-teachers and I have created over the last 2 months. I’ve been blessed to work with talented colleagues who have added depth to my ideas, encouraged me into learning unknown platforms, and whose creativity co-birthed the direction for these projects. Take a look!
Using Census Data on Race: Where should the (upcoming) Latino Smithsonian museum go?
In September, 3rd and 4th grade students studied the city of D.C. as a Social Studies unit. After a virtual field trip with a parent who works in the curation department of one of the Smithsonian, they learned that there have been efforts in the House of Representatives recently to approve a Latino Smithsonian. Check out the video introducing this news below!
Next, I introduced students to the racial dot map which uses US Census data to plot the racial and ethnic composition of cities, neighborhoods, and regions. We challenged students to consider what they saw on the racial dot map and have studied about D.C. museums to decide where the Smithsonian Museum of Latino History and Culture should be placed, giving a rationale for their choice.
Students’ used the tools on the Seesaw Website to virtually draw on either a template of the National Mall or a neighborhood map of D.C. to show where they thought the museum should go!
Ultimately, most 4th grade students (my homeroom) believed it would be better to locate the museum on the National Mall (near Gallery Place metro) 1) so that it would be close to other Smithsonian Museums and 2) due to some amounts of Latinos living near the Gallery Place metro (as of 2010). We recognize that this data may be significantly different than the 2020 Census data soon to be released.
Finally, student’s were able to discuss one another’s thought processes’ and opinions using a Virtual Gallery Walk through the Seesaw app/website. Kudos to my colleague for this ingenious idea!
The Holy Trinity Action Cards
In conjunction with a 5-6 item written assessment, 4th grade students completed this art project to demonstrate what they had learned about each member of the Holy Trinity during the month of September. Students’ had to channel their love of Pokemon (still relevant for the majority of the class) for these designs.
I was very proud of the sincerity, detail, and thoughtfulness of our 4th graders on this assignment. Check out the gallery below to see some of their best work!
In both these projects, the abundance of digital tools to which students’ have access has only enhanced their learning. I hope to highlight and celebrate excellent digital projects over the coming months not just to applaud my students, but to fan into flame hope for what new instructional heights await us through digital learning.